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The Work of the Negative

: Green, Andre

Andre Green draws our attention to the work of the negative in Freud, examining aspects which are not normally associated with it: dream work, the work of mourning, identification, etc. From the clinical point of view, it can be said that the Freudian development ranges from neurosis as the ‘negative of perversion’, to the masochism which underlies the ‘negative therapeutic reaction’ reflecting the pessimism of the final years, but whose mystery is unravelled to some extent when one recognises in it the style which is peculiar to non-neurotic structures i.e. borderline cases. The kernel of Green’s argument is that the development of the ego and any experiencing of ourselves as ‘subjects’ has to be achieved against an essential background of loss and of absence. The phrase ‘work of the negative’ refers to how we do or do not cope with this inevitability of lacking what we want. The work of the negative as it is conceived of here groups together the heterogeneous forms of repression, foreclosure, disavowal and negation. It enables us both to grasp the unity which exists between them and to recognise the sign of their intervention by distinguishing their effects, for these are the best indicators of the subject’s structure and determine the outcome of the analysis. The author cautions the reader to be wary of attributing an exclusively pathological meaning to the work of the negative. The negative through repression and sublimation, is a mark of the general human condition; it is necessary to say ‘no’ to excessive instinctuality in order to belong to the human community. However, for some people, who are in the grip of destructive negativity, this ‘no’ becomes a refusal to livehumanely. Read more…

Fairbairn and the Origins of Object Relations

: Grotstein, James S. Rinsley, Donald B

Fairbairn’s work is increasingly influential in research on infant development, child abuse, and the borderline, schizoid and narcissistic disorders. This volume is the first to bring together the works of those who have studied Fairbairn’s ideas most closely. The papers are expository, exploratory and illustrative and cover all aspects of his life, work and influence; contributors include the most eminent students of Fairbairn in both Britain and the USA. Edited by James S. Grotstein and  Donald B Rinsley. Read more…

Theatres of the Mind

: McDougall, Joyce

Using the idiom of drama, Joyce McDougall here describes how we play out compulsive scripts in our lives, inner worlds, symptoms and in the therapeutic transference.  Starting from the theorectial fram developed in her earlier book, McDougall now presents a comprehensive view of the five fundamental types of psychopathology: neuroses; severe character disorders and addictive personalities; perversions; psychoses; and the psychosomatic disorders.  Her primary interest is in achieving an understanding in depth of her patients’ psychopathology as represented by what she calls “theatres of the mind. Read more…

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

: Coltart, Nina

Nina Coltart was a distinguished member of the Independent Group. In her essays she explores the parameters of psychoanalysis against a background of broader cultural issues. The title essay is justly famous – an account of an apparently hopeless analysis, in which Dr Coltart’s dramatic intervention produced remarkable results. Read more…

Containing Anxiety in Institutions

: Menzies-Lyth, Isabel E.P.

Isabel Menzies Lyth has formulated a way of thinking about social structures as forms of defence – as ways of avoiding experiences of anxiety, guilt, doubt and uncertainty – that is as challenging as it is persuasive. She believes that the individual is engaged in a lifelong struggle against primitive anxiety. A psychoanalyst writing in the tradition of Klein and Bion, her writings span more than thirty years of research in applied psychoanalysis. This is a controversial collection, which makes available to a wider public an important part of the research tradition of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations. The author extends her analytic range to cover themes of children in long-stay hospitals and day-care institutions, and the maternal role today. All the essays combine her two main professional interests: the dynamics of the individual in his or her own right and the psychodynamics of the social world. This volume includes her classic study of the dynamics of nursing. Read more…

A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought

: Hinshelwood, Robert

The ideas of Melanie Klein and the post-Kleinians have a growing influence among psychoanalysts yet they are not always easy to grasp. Robert Hinshelwood offers the first comprehensive and wholly accessible exposition of the main concepts in Kleinian psychoanalysis and their more recent development. The book contains 13 main entries on the basic Kleinian concepts – splitting, paranoid-schizoid and depressive positions, projective identification, envy, internal objects – along with numerous entries on subsidiary concepts and the main post-Kleinian writers – Bion, Segal, Rosenfeld, Joseph and Meltzer. The book also has a bibliography of all Kleinian writings to date. It has already been acclaimed ‘a tremendous’ piece of work’ and as ‘the state of the art in its own domain’. Read more…

Theatres of the Body

: McDougall, Joyce

Joyce McDougall looks at people who react to psychological distress through somatic manifestations, and at the psychosomatic potential of individuals in those moments when habitual psychological ways of coping are overwhelmed, and the body pantomimes the mind’s distress. Read more…

The Analytic Experience

: Symington, Neville

There have been many expositions of psychoanalysis, but none so deeply rooted in clinical practice – both as it affects the patient, and even more as it affects the analyst. Neville Symington lectured to mental health professionals seconded to the Tavistock Centre; this book is the result of these lectures. Read more…

Governing the Soul

: Rose, Nikolas

Nikolas Rose’s Governing the Soul is now widely recognized as one of the founding texts in a new approach to analyzing the links between political power, expertise and the self. This governmentality perspective has had important implications for a range of academic disciplines including criminology, political theory, sociology and psychology and has generated much theoretical innovation and empirical investigation. The second edition contains a new introduction, which sets out the methodological and conceptual bases of this approach. Also, a new final chapter has been added that considers some of the implications of recent developments in the government of subjectivity. Read more…

Transcribing Lacan’s Seminars

: Pierrakos, Marie

The Author, Maria Pierrakos, began her working career as a freelance conference steno-typist, and it was in this capacity that she was Jacques Lacan’s steno-typist (“keybasher”) from 1967 to 1979. Awarding him a “gold medal for boorishness” – Lacan did not speak a word to her in those twelve years – it was only after she became a psychoanalyst herself that Pierrakos felt adequately equipped to explore and write about, this experience in depth. Her careful but excoriating criticism of the Lacanian system will be of interest to all readers wishing to understand more about one of the most curious phenomena of our time – how a large part of the French intelligentsia came to be captivated by “the pathetic spectacle of an old man tossing bits of string representing Borromean knots to his audience, and of hands stretching out to receive them like children at the circus”. The author records: “the posturing was backed up by a quasi-military organization, interlinking regions by sending analysts into virgin territory to preach the good word. Some had undergone only summary analysis and training, since, to quote Lacan “the analyst is only answerable to himself”. Read more…